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Eastern Europe

1) During the first decade after the Cold War, plundering the State became a national sport in many former Eastern-bloc countries. Other chronic problems include an unusually high divorce rate, general social despair, a lower standard of living, housing shortages, and so forth.

2) Eastern Europe (Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and the Ukraine) is a region of 73 million inhabitants where people spend too much of their time working out how to trick one another. This is the Russian front lawn (as opposed to the backyard in the south). The Baltic states, particularly Estonia, are slowly working their way back into the civilized world. If left in peace they may even prosper as part of a Baltic Sea region.

3) That is a long term strategy, for the latter half of the 21st century. By accepting former Eastern European countries into the EU we are strengthening our economic and political potential vis-à-vis our American and Asian competitors. We will eventually clean up the mess. It is a process that will last half a century.

4) No one can halt the immigration from Eastern Europe. The consequences of this migration will be a mix of positive and negative, in a sense two extremes: many really bright people, and many criminals. Those are the fighters and the survivors in any culture.

5) EU enlargement means that a gypsy population of five to six million (in Romania, the former Yugoslavia, Hungary, and the former Czechoslovakia) has becomes our shared responsibility. Apart from their rich tradition of music and dance, gypsy history has been a history of slavery, beggary, and violence. This is not a people you can integrate easily: it will take a long process of socialization.

Poland

1) Poland is a territory without any natural boundaries. It is a people of warriors who have lost all their wars. It is not an industrialized nation, but a nation of farmers and in many ways a de facto matriarchy.

2) The Poles have no friendly neighbours. That led Poland straight into the arms of the USA after the Cold War.

3) The Polish elites used to be educated in France. In consequence hundreds of Polish workers arrived in France after the Cold War was over every day to seek their fortune. No-one could separate them from the French. None have been thrown out yet. France failed to protect Poland in the Second World War, so now

Poland does not fit into the traditional Slavonic mould either. They are Catholic and "Latinized" (as the Finns are Lutheran and "Swedenized")

5) As with Turkey (Muslim), a strong Poland (Catholic) is the best guarantee against Russia becoming a superpower again. Therefore both these countries enjoy a special relation with the USA.

6) Poland's borders have been repeatedly redrawn throughout history. The heartland of Poland is Warsaw. Only the area round Warsaw has always been Polish. To compensate for the loss of Eastern Poland to the Soviet Union, when one and a half million Poles were forced to move westwards, the Allies twice (at conferences at Yalta in February 1945 and at Potsdam in July-August 1945) gave Poland extra territory to the west, including Silesia and parts of Pomerania and East Prussia.

7) The German position on these annexations today is divided. Some accept the new borders (especially in view of the suffering Nazi Germany inflicted on the Polish people: six million Poles were deported and exterminated, including three million Jews). Others see the annexations as unjust, and would like to see increased German influence in those regions. And then there are a great many who do not dare to say what they think.

Hungary

1) Hungary is eager to regain its former territorial integrity. The Hungarians are an elitist people, who were long a trustworthy outpost against Mongolian hordes in Central Europe.

There have been about as many Nobel laureates from Hungary as from France; yet Hungary has only ten million inhabitants compared to France's sixty million.

3) Hungary must suffer, said Clemenceau. The country was seen as a threat to French control of the German region, because it is a Catholic country and because the elites of the Imperial Austrian Army were commanded by Hungarians.

4) The Hungarians have defended Europe from barbaric invasions for more than a thousand years. Their country has been the continent's Checkpoint Charlie, located on the only natural route to Central Europe. This situation has molded an exceptional warrior class. By contrast, Austrian soldiers were mostly used for parades. As the Russians said at Stalingrad: it is better to face the SS than the Hungarians. The Hungarians were also the only nation who dared to revolt openly against Russian control, in 1956.

Former Czechoslovakia

1) France yoked the Czechs and Slovaks together, two peoples who had led separate existences for more than a thousand years: the Slovaks dominated by Hungary, the Czechs by Austria. Now they have separated again. This promises to raise Czech living standards to German levels.

Romania

1) Romania and Albania were the most thoroughly wrecked countries in the former Eastern Bloc. Now that Romania has joined the EU, we have several hundred thousand beggars scattered all over Europe. These countries were a hard pill to swallow, but we had no choice but to include them, to keep the Russians out and to try to create some stability in the Balkans (the weed patch of Europe).

2) Being both a stronghold and a crossroads, Romania has been marked over the centuries by isolation and by great invasions. The country has been a victim of Turkish hegemony, of pan-Germanism, and of pan-Slavism (Barrat et al. 2003: 30).

3) The Carpathians form a semicircular fortress, a relatively low but nevertheless effective natural barrier.

4) Romania is a Latin island in a Slavonic ocean. Because of its Latin character it has looked towards France. But the French influence is relatively new: it dates only from the time of Napoleon III. That relationship reached its peak between the two world wars. Earlier, the country was a vassal province under the Turks.

5) Ninety per cent of the population are ethnic Romanians; forty-five per cent live in rural areas, mostly as farmers. This makes it the least urbanized country in Europe, except for Albania.

6) The Romans founded their province of Dacia in this territory between 106 and 270 BC. Slavonic immigration began much later, in the seventh century. Except for the language there are few Roman features remaining in Romanian culture.

7) The Hungarian influence in Romania is confined to three counties in Transylvania.

8) The Germans in Romania, mostly Saxons and Bavarians, are another energetic minority. In 1930 they constituted four per cent of the population; today they are half of one per cent, or about 120,000 individuals. It would have better for the prosperity of the country if they had been allowed to take charge.

9) The Romanian diaspora is considerable, comprising twelve million people, of which 2.7 million live in Moldavia, 1.7 million in the former Yugoslavia, one million in the USA, and 500,000 in the Ukraine.

10) A German proverb says "Romania is not a nation, it is a profession". Few people in Romania respect anything. Exceptions are most numerous among the groups of German extraction and the three million Hungarian Romanians. This is the world of the Balkans, it is not the West. The French say "We should not be seduced by the similarity of our languages. We already have enough problems with Greece."

11) Many forces collaborated in order to eliminate Ceaus.escu and replace him with a more representative Communist. Silviu Brucan, who had been a diplomat, was given the green light by key members of both the police ministry and the Communist Party to eliminate the feared dictator. The decision was OK'd by both Washington and Moscow. Brucan made a deal with Gorbachev, that the Communist Party should continue to hold sway in Romania after Ceaus.escu was gone (Barrat et al. 2003: 213). It was an assassination in the Romanian manner. Today, though, much the same people are still in power. They have just learned to speak differently.

Moldavia

1) Russia is allowed to retain its influence in Moldavia in return for keeping out of Serbian politics. Hardly ever in the news, Moldavia has been in a permanent state of crisis since its independence in 1991. With no more than 4.5 million inhabitants, Moldavia is split between three ethnic groups - Russians, Moldavians, and Gagauzians - each of which wants separate independence.

2) Historically it has been difficult to draw a clear dividing line between Moldavians and Romanians. Moldavia is a buffer state with few distinctive features.

Ukraine

1) What do you do as a Russian when the very cradle of your nation celebrates its independence from you? This was what happened in 1991. What do you do as an Ukrainian when the Orange Revolution has run out of steam and when half the population is pro-Russian? This is not a situation to be solved overnight ... and in the meantime the economy has collapsed.

2) Kiev is the mother of all Russian cities. The Vikings came here in 859, first as robbers and thieves, then invited as protectors for the expanding Russian nation. Pressure from the Mongol hordes in the East steadily increased, and in Kiev was conquered; it remained a territory plagued by sporadic violence for centuries. This tumultuous history has shaped both the Russian and the Ukrainian character, tossed back and forth between Eastern brutalism and Western political ideals.

Twenty-two per cent of the 48 million Ukrainian population is of Russian origin. These all live in the eastern parts of the Ukraine, including the Crimea. Without their support, real Ukrainian stability is impossible.

4) The Ukraine is really a Russian affair, but we cannot pass by a chance to block Russian influence. That said, NATO is not going to defend the Ukraine if Russia invades.

The Balkans

1) The Balkans are the last underdeveloped area remaining in Europe.

2) The word "Balkan" is Turkish for "mountain", and initially referred to what is now Bulgaria. Today it is used to cover the area between the Adriatic to the west, the Aegean to the south, and the Black Sea to the east, and often including Romania.

3) The word "Yugoslav" was given by the Austrians to the people who migrated to the Balkans; it means "South Slavs". The fate of the South Slavs has swung between being part of the Ottoman Empire, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to a sort of independence, though never undisputed. Yugoslav unity has been difficult to establish, because of impenetrable mountains and valleys.

4) There is an old saying: "A monster lies sleeping in these valleys. Once in a while it comes to life and kills tens of thousands of people."

5) Like the Caucasus, this is a turbulent border area between Christians (Lutheran and Orthodox) and Turks.

6) The Balkans today consists of a number of buffer states which are in the process of reconstructing their pre-Cold War identities.

7) Like other crossroads of civilization, the Balkans comprises a wide diversity of ethnic groups. It contains:

a) Muslims remaining from the Ottoman Empire (roughly corresponding to Bosnia-Herzegovina)

b) a substantial Slavonic population (Republic of Serbia, Croatia, and part of Kosovo)

c) early settlers from Albania (Albania plus part of Kosovo)

d) German-influenced groups in the north (Slovenia and part of Croatia)

e) Greek- and Bulgarian-influenced groups in the south (Republic of Macedonia).

Mapmaking in this area can only be described as a nightmare, and can never be fair to all sides; there are too many conflicting interests. Only tolerance can secure their future.

8) Five hundred years of Ottoman rule wiped out much from the indigenous cultures in this part of the world. Turkish influence is shown by similarities in the food, the clothes, even in local songs... though few who live here will admit it.

9) Russian influence in the area is from a later date, the end of the seventeenth century. Russia was then confronting the Ottoman Empire, which had conquered the Ukraine aided by the Dnieper Cossacks. Peter the Great lost a number of battles in the Balkans, notably at the Prut River in July 1711, when he was almost captured; Russia was fully stretched at the time trying to hold on to the city of Azov, in order to get access to the Black Sea. Only with the treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji (July 1774) did Russia get a foothold in the Balkans. Their position was never really strong. Serbia's repeated cries for help have been ignored by Russia ever since. The Russians have accepted the region as part of the Austrian sphere of influence (cf. Mudry 2005: 21-3). Russia's main interest is in Moldavia, previously a vassal to the Sublime Porte.

10) Yugoslavia was allied with the Soviet Union only between 1941 and 1948, after which there was a rupture between Tito and Stalin. Stalin tried to kill Tito many times, but never succeeded.

Serbia

1) Serbia will be the most difficult country to integrate into the EU, but this must nevertheless be done in order to achieve order in the Balkans. It will be the work of half a century.

2) Home to half the population of the former Yugoslavia, this homogeneous group of people refuses to abandon the old dream of the mediaeval Serbian kingdom. The Europeans cannot invite them into the EU before they sort this out for themselves and decide to become more civilized. We face a long stalemate. In the meantime, Serbia's neighbours will continue to grow in prosperity, and new generations of Serbs will put pressure on their elders to change their thinking.

3) The Serbs have revolted on several occasions. The Treaty of Adrianople (September 1829)set up a legal frame-work for the Serbian State. Since then the Serbs have been on their own, a Slavonic satellite out in deep space (Serbia was formally an ally of Russia only briefly, from 1903 to 1917.)

4) Serbia must abandon all its aspirations in Kosovo and surrender its war criminals to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Until it does this, it will remain isolated. The EU is in no hurry.

Croatia

1) The Croats was one of the three Slavonic tribes, together with the Serbs and the Slovenians, who migrated into the Balkans relatively late in history, at about the same time as the Anglo-Saxons laid the foundations of England. The Croats and Serbs immigrated as one group, and resemble each other physically. Until that time the Balkans had been part of the general culture of antiquity (Brown 1954).

2) Croatia has long been part of the Austrian-German zone of influence, and is predominantly Catholic. It belonged to the Habsburgs for almost four centuries, from the time it elected Ferdinand I as its king in 1526. Nazi Germany restored the Croat State in 1941, and it was largely thanks to Germany that Croatia was included in the European economic community so soon, in 1991.

3) Much blood has been spilt on Croatian soil. The Croatian Fascists, the Ustashi, were trained in Italy and Hungary. They slaughtered not only Jews and gypsies but hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Serbs. Upwards of a million people were killed here by German Nazis, Italian Fascists, Croatian Ustashi, and Serb Chetniks.

4) As with Serbia, Croatia will need to co-operate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal to investigate the atrocities committed by its forces during the Croatian War of Independence (1991-95) before it can hope to become an EU member.

Slovenia

1) The Slovenes are related to the Czechs who live further north, but speak a language closer to Serb and Croat.

2) Like the Czechs these are a responsible Slavonic people, ferociously independent, known for their appreciation of culture, especially fine literature (poetry). These characteristics are inseparable from their identity and national pride.

Bosnia

1) The Bosnians became Muslims voluntarily, and for good reasons: the Roman Catholic Church was much more tyrannical than the Sultan in Istanbul. They were a peaceable people who used to know how to live a good life. Consequently they have fewer problems as refugees in integrating with the more civilized nations of the Western world.

Herzegovina

1) There are three Bosnias and three Herzegovinas: one Roman Catholic, one Serbian Orthodox, and one Moslem. To keep these six elements together requires a miracle. In the north there are also a number of Protestant villages, and, until the Ustashi massacred them, there were even some Sephardic Jewish communities here.

2) Sarajevo is an old aristocratic town. It was never typical of the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but a special "pleasure city". The beys who ruled here under the Ottoman Empire were remarkable hedonists, a trait still noticeable in the character of the present-day population (Brown 1954: 83).

Montenegro

1) Often called the "Free Principality of the Black Mountain", this country has a population with a character of granite. Even though it was never independent before 2006, it had never really lost its sense of unity.

2) Russia long dreamed of making this country its ice-free port with access to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and the Turkish Sultan repeatedly tried to crush the people who lived here; but it is not a place you invade, and not a people you can keep as servants. It takes a lot to shape granite.

Albania

1) Since the end of the Cold War, Albania has been a factory for organized crime.

2) Albania is the entrepot for a large share of the drugs entering Western Europe. Albanian mafia groups have succeeded in operating freely in all major European cities. Their criminals cannot be handled like other criminals. As with Russian mafia groups, they must be met head on if we hope to manage the threat they represent.

Kosovo

1) If the Serbs want to invade this country they will have to fight the Albanian half of the population. That is not a fight they can win. Few people are as easy with violence as the Albanians.

Macedonia

1) Today's Republic of Macedonia is a windy plateau, infertile, and less than half the size of the historical Macedonia of Alexander the Great. It is nothing to get romantic about.

 
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